291The Philistines brought all their troops together at Aphek, while the Israelites camped at the spring in the Valley of Jezreel. 2The five Philistine kings marched out with their units of a hundred and of a thousand men; David and his men marched in the rear with King Achish. 3The Philistine commanders saw them and asked, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”
Achish answered, “This is David, an official of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me for quite a long time now. He has done nothing I can find fault with since the day he came over to me.”
4But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said to him, “Send that fellow back to the town you gave him. Don't let him go into battle with us; he might turn against us during the fighting. What better way is there for him to win back his master's favour than by the death of our men? 5
After all, this is David, the one about whom the women sang, as they danced, ‘Saul has killed thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands.’ ”
6Achish called David and said to him, “I swear by the living GOD of Israel that you have been loyal to me; and I would be pleased to let you go with me and fight in this battle. I have not found any fault in you from the day you came over to me. But the other kings don't approve of you. 7So go back home in peace, and don't do anything that would displease them.”
8David answered, “What have I done wrong, sir? If, as you say, you haven't found any fault in me since the day I started serving you, why shouldn't I go with you, my master and king, and fight your enemies?”
9“I agree,” Achish replied. “I consider you as loyal as an angel of God. But the other kings have said that you can't go with us into battle. 10So then, David, tomorrow morning all of you who left Saul and came over to me will have to get up early and leave as soon as it's light.”
11So David and his men started out early the following morning to go back to Philistia, and the Philistines went on to Jezreel.
301Two days later David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The Amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag. They had burnt down the town 2and captured all the women; they had not killed anyone, but had taken everyone with them when they left. 3When David and his men arrived, they found that the town had been burnt down and that their wives, sons, and daughters had been carried away. 4David and his men started crying and did not stop until they were completely exhausted. 5
Even David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken away.
6David was now in great trouble, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but the LORD his God gave him courage. 7
David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod,” and Abiathar brought it to him. 8David asked the LORD, “Shall I go after those raiders? And will I catch them?”
He answered, “Go after them; you will catch them and rescue the captives.”
9So David and his 600 men started out, and when they arrived at the brook of Besor, some of them stayed there. 10David continued on his way with 400 men; the other 200 men were too tired to cross the brook and so stayed behind. 11The men with David found an Egyptian out in the country and brought him to David. They gave him some food and water, 12some dried figs, and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, his strength returned; he had not had anything to eat or drink for three full days. 13David asked him, “Who is your master, and where are you from?”
“I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he answered. “My master left me behind three days ago because I was ill. 14We had raided the territory of the Cherethites in the southern part of Judah and the territory of the clan of Caleb, and we burnt down Ziklag.”
15“Will you lead me to those raiders?” David asked him.
He answered, “I will if you promise me in God's name that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master.” 16And he led David to them.
The raiders were scattered all over the place, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the enormous amount of loot they had captured from Philistia and Judah. 17At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for 400 young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. 18David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 19nothing at all was missing. David got back all his men's sons and daughters, and all the loot the Amalekites had taken. 20He also recovered all the flocks and herds; his men drove all the livestock in front of them30.20 Probable text his men… front of them; Hebrew unclear. and said, “This belongs to David!”
21Then David went back to the 200 men who had been too weak to go with him and had stayed behind at the brook of Besor. They came forward to meet David and his men, and David went up to them and greeted them warmly. 22But some mean and worthless men who had gone with David said, “They didn't go with us, and so we won't give them any of the loot. They can take their wives and children and go away.”
23But David answered, “My brothers, you can't do this with what the LORD has given us! He kept us safe and gave us victory over the raiders. 24No one can agree with what you say! All must share alike: whoever stays behind with the supplies gets the same share as the one who goes into battle.” 25David made this a rule, and it has been followed in Israel ever since.
26When David returned to Ziklag, he sent part of the loot to his friends, the leaders of Judah, with the message, “Here is a present for you from the loot we took from the LORD's enemies.” 27He sent it to the people in Bethel, to the people in Ramah in the southern part of Judah, and to the people in the towns of Jattir, 28Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29and Racal; to the clan of Jerahmeel, to the Kenites, 30and to the people in the towns of Hormah, Borashan, Athach, 31and Hebron. He sent it to all the places where he and his men had roamed.
311The Philistines fought a battle against the Israelites on Mount Gilboa. Many Israelites were killed there, and the rest of them, including King Saul and his sons, fled. 2But the Philistines caught up with them and killed three of Saul's sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3The fighting was heavy round Saul, and he himself was hit by enemy arrows and badly wounded. 4He said to the young man carrying his weapons, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that these godless Philistines won't gloat over me and kill me.” But the young man was too terrified to do it. So Saul took his own sword and threw himself on it. 5The young man saw that Saul was dead, so he too threw himself on his own sword and died with Saul. 6And that is how Saul, his three sons, and the young man died; all of Saul's men died that day. 7When the Israelites on the other side of the Valley of Jezreel and east of the River Jordan heard that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had been killed, they abandoned their towns and fled. Then the Philistines came and occupied them.
8The day after the battle the Philistines went to plunder the corpses, and they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa. 9They cut off Saul's head, stripped off his armour, and sent messengers with them throughout Philistia to tell the good news to their idols and to their people. 10Then they put his weapons in the temple of the goddess Astarte, and they nailed his body to the wall of the city of Beth Shan.
11When the people of Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12the bravest men started out and marched all night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall, brought them back to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13Then they took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in the town, and fasted for seven days.